THE REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960) Blu-ray review

A must see in widescreen!

I recently acquired two new Blu-ray editions, of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961) and REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960). I’ll give a quick overview of the latter. I won’t be reviewing the movie itself (I’ll do that on the main blog) but I’ll still mention a few things about the quality of the movie itself.

So much grain on Rhonda Fleming you’d think she was covered in freckles.

Released by KINO LORBER, REVOLT OF THE SLAVES was one of those PEPLUM movies which languished in obscurity: it never got an official VHS or DVD release. It was released on VHS by Nostalgia Family but I don’t think it was legit (I have the VHS tape). And what copies were available were often in a poor state, such as the one by Nostalgia Family. I was pleasantly surprised when KINO LORBER decided to release this on Blu-ray. From their website, I suspect they did this just for Serge Gainsbourg and Fernando Rey completists, not because of their love of the PEPLUM genre.

A visible scratch on the image, over Lang Jeffries’ face.

As for the image and sound quality: it’s very good but both could have been better. The image is spectacular, showcasing the excellent camerawork by cinematographer Cecilio Paniagua but the grain is everywhere, and white dots and scratches are visible throughout. And the audio is very flat and weak. I wished they had punched it up a notch or two. The score is excellent (some new stuff combined with some familiar score heard in many PEPLUM movies) but the transfer doesn’t do it justice.

Fernando Rey, Ettore Manni and Gainsbourg.

I watched the movie from my 27″ iMac and on a HD Toshiba TV (below). The audio and image issues were present in both instances.

Scenes like this one really showcase the excellent composition of the camerawork.

The quality of previous versions were so bad that I shouldn’t complain but when a movie is released on HD I always expect the presentation to be tops and even though this release is excellent, it’s not really top. It’s a shame because this is one of those PEPLUM movies I can watch over and over again.

Wandisa Guida

As for the movie itself, some say it’s a knock-off of QUO VADIS (1951) or FABIOLA (1949). Personally, I don’t see the similarities. There could be more than a couple of movies about the same subject without having to be compared to other works. I think it stands well by itself without having to be pigeonholed in some category. It’s first and foremost an action movie, which the other two epics weren’t. They were big dramas with action scenes.

As for extras, there are only a couple of trailers, including the trailer for this movie. It’s pretty barebones. They could have at least included the Italian track as an extra.

Overall I’m pleased with it and I’ve already watched it three times. I just hope a stellar version will be released in the not so distant future.

New Blu-rays…

I finally got two new Blu-rays (after waiting 3 weeks due to prioritized shipping at Amazon…). REVOLT OF THE SLAVES (1960) and the two discs, 3 movies set of HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (1961).

I’m pleasantly surprised by the HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD edition. It contains 3 different versions, which I didn’t realize they were included when I purchased it. This idea is a must for PEPLUM movies, and I can’t wait to compare all three different versions.

The REVOLT OF THE SLAVES is pretty barebones. The movie and some trailers. I have to say that I really like this often overlooked flick. It’s a solid PEPLUM with tons of action, great cast, and amazing sets.

More info soon…

GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES Blu-ray…when?

As I reported back on November 8, 2019, the Blu-ray edition of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961) was announced. The movie is retitled as SAMSON & THE VAMPIRES but regardless, it was great news. 6 months later the movie hasn’t been released yet. No additional info. Nothing.

It seems the original prints needed major restoration but they should have some short clip to give us hope or an idea how it’s going to be. I’m starting to think it’ll never get released. It’s one thing to announce it and it’s another to have some updates on it. Maybe a sneak peek? Kino Lorber is a good company but this wait is getting ridiculous. The title is not even listed as a pre-order at KL’s website, and titles listed there go all the way to the middle of August.

On a side note, I uploaded this movie on PEPLUM TV Youtube channel but I had to pull it out of circulation because of some dubious copyright claim. I’ve uploaded it on all of my previous Youtube channels without any issues. I’m thinking this was done in preparation for the upcoming Blu-ray release but now it’s been so long that what was the point of claiming it nearly a year ago?

Scary Gordon Mitchell…

This old article from a French magazine is interesting. It’s purports to be a nice article but hmm…It also mentions ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS (1961) but they use a photo from FURY OF ACHILLES (1962)

Here’s the translation of the text.

Gordon Mitchell, 36, American…He is the most frightening of Macistes. Culturist, accomplished sportsman, he rarely cheats in his cinematographic ‘effects’.

He practices wrestling and judo. Despite his age, he remains one of the most spectacular ‘monumnets’ in cinema.

Correct description? The definition of a backhanded compliment?

It’s hard to believe Mitchell was only 36 years old. That’s a rough looking 36 years old.


Achilles (Gordon Mitchell) in a fight with Hector (Jacques Bergerac) in FURY OF ACHILLES. The top photo in the article is not from ATLAS IN THE LAND OF THE CYCLOPS.

In the American International Pictures: A Comprehensive Filmography by Rob Craig, the author describes Mitchell: “…certainly must be the most gruesome European “muscleman” ever to grace the screen.” (review of Fury of Achilles).

Was Gordon Mitchell scary?

SPARTACUS in ad

One of the fun things in scoping old magazines dedicated to the movie industry is finding ads which indirectly dealt with the PEPLUM genre. Here’s a good example: the durability of the prints for SPARTACUS (1960). It seems Hollywood used the epics of the time to boost new technological advances, including THE ROBE (1953) being the first movie shown in widescreen.

SAMSON AND DELILAH (1984) TV movie…

With the recent passing of Max Von Sydow, and a quick overview of his PEPLUM titles, one stood out from the pack: his appearance in the TV movie version of SAMSON & DELILAH. It’s an oddly cast movie with Anthony Hamilton as Samson and Belinda Bauer as Delilah. It’s forgotten, certainly compared to other versions. What’s interesting about the TV movie is how they tried or try to sell in on home video.

Not very inspiring packaging. Only the first one has some nice artwork. Does anyone like this version?

Hercules and Hylas in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

Hylas (Jason Carney) and Hercules (Nigel Green) in JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS (1963)

According to Greek mythology, Hercules and Hylas were companions. They were inseparable. The 1963 Ray Harryhausen movie is one of the few which shows the two together. Same-sex relationships back in the 1960s were a no-no, and to a certain extent, it’s still a touchy subject today. Personally I wouldn’t have any issue with it since their relationship wasn’t the main point of the story. In other words, it’s no big deal. Harryhausen was well aware of their relationship when they incorporated these scenes in the movie. But many would have difficulty seeing Hercules, the very representation of masculinity, be involved romantically with another man. I think most people would have issue with this portrayal of Hercules than the possibility of the relationship itself.

PEPLUM titles advertised in old US newspaper

It’s always cool to see old newspapers with ads for PEPLUM movies. This one is a great example.

Now for those who aren’t aware of this in the past movies were advertised heavily in newspapers, mainly in the ‘Entertainment’ section. It was one of  the best ways to reach a vast audience…back then. Not today. But this selection of ads illustrates the reality of PEPLUM movies released in the US. We see  THE AVENGER (1962) staring Steve Reeves. I never cared for that title. It’s also known as WAR OF THE TROJANS or THE LAST GLORY OF TROY. It was the sequel to THE TROJAN HORSE (1961). As we can see it opened in 4 cinemas (‘starts today’) along with THE SECRET MARK OF D’ARTAGNAN (1962) starring George Nader. So, basically a double feature. Or maybe the two movies shared the same cinemas but patrons had to pay specifically for one movie only. Regardless, it shows how PEPLUM Swashbucklers were paired with ‘mythological’ titles like THE AVENGER. Some people wonder I cover these ‘swashbuckler’ movies or wonder why they’re even considered PEPLUM movies. Well, here’s your proof why.

Side note: There’s also an ad for MUSCLE BEACH PARTY starring future PEPLUM star Peter Lupus (aka Rock Stevens).

Few upcoming titles on the Blu-ray front

The only major non-italian PEPLUM Blu-ray release is the double disk of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, the 1923 and 1956 versions. It’s a good idea but nothing earth-shattering.

Aside from titles that are scheduled to be released but have yet to see the light of day, such as the Blu-ray of GOLIATH & THE VAMPIRES (1961), titled  SAMSON & THE VAMPIRES for the release, there’s no major European titles in the foreseeable future. Oh well…